A disturbing video showing people rushing to help those grievously injured in a shell explosion in Kashmir’s Kulgam region last year is viral on social media with false claims that it shows the Indian Army killing Kashmiris.
The Indian government withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and abrogated Article 370 and 35A, in a shock announcement on August 5, 2019 amidst a physical and communications lockdown in the region.
The video shows rescuers carrying away three severely wounded young men as onlookers frantically cry for help.
The clip, viewed more than 28,000 times at the time of writing this article, has been shared by multiple Twitter users with the caption that falsely claims the incident happened during the recent lockdown in Kashmir.
WARNING: The below video contains distressing visuals, discretion is advised
The video has been shared by multiple Pakistanis including Abdullah Gul, chairman of Tehrik Jawanan Pakistan/Kashmir. However, BOOM could not independently verify if the account was genuine.
The Urdu text accompanying the video translates to the following.
“Massacre started in Kashmir This video had been sent by a Kashmiri sister. Quaid-e-Azam has ordered army to march towards Kashmir. We are providing diplomatic, moral and political support. Imran Khan says he will respond if Pakistan attacks. Isn’t Kashmir Pakistan? Did Tipu Sultan go that way?”
BOOM broke the video into key frames and performed a reverse image search on a few of its frames, however it did not yield any result.
We then ran an extensive keyword search in YouTube and found the same video that was uploaded to YouTube in October, last year.
The video has been described as “Indian forces bloodbath in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district – II”
BOOM then looked for news reports about the incident and were directed to multiple articles from October 2018.
Seven civilians were killed in south Kashmir’s Kulgam region when a stray explosive shell went off at an encounter site. Three Jaish-e-Mohammed members were also killed during the gunfight with Indian security forces.
According to NDTV, the unexploded shell went off after a house caught fire during the encounter with Indian security forces. People who went in to douse the fire were injured when the shell exploded, NDTV reported citing police.
Below is an excerpt from NDTV‘s article on the incident.
“The police are not sure what kind of explosive led to the tragedy. It could either be a grenade brought by the dead terrorists or mortar shell used by security forces during the operation. Even after the blast, the police didn’t visit the spot because of the ongoing clashes in the area.”
Jammu and Kashmir Police tweeted about the same at the time.
It is however not clear what triggered the explosion. News reports suggest the Indian security forces struggled to keep civilians out of the encounter site.
“The police said once the firing stopped, local residents went too close to the encounter site before security forces could sanitise the area,” the Hindustan Times reported.